Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...


Children share love of Christ through Children’s Ministry Day

Julie Walters
Woman’s Missionary Union

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – On Feb. 14, thousands of children across the country will participate in the eighth annual Children’s Ministry Day in a concerted effort to reach out to their communities and share the love of Christ through hands-on missions projects.

“This year’s theme, All for You, can help girls and boys recognize that everything they do – even heavy-lifting, just-plain-hard-work jobs – can be done in a way that proclaims the love of Jesus,” explained Heather Keller, children’s ministry consultant for national WMU. “Children’s Ministry Day is the perfect opportunity for children’s leaders and parents to help children realize they can make a difference in their community, association or across the state as they actively minister and share God’s love.”

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WMU board focuses on missions discipleship in postmodern culture

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Approximately 150 people—including board members, state and national Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) staff members, and guests—gathered for national WMU’s board meeting, Jan. 10–12, at Shocco Springs Conference Center in Talladega, Ala.

In her report on Saturday night, WMU Executive Director Wanda S. Lee recapped progress on strategic directions set by the board in 2010 and outlined three focus areas for 2015–2018: equipping leaders, preparing children and youth for missional living in a postmodern culture, and focusing on small churches.

Lee outlined leadership development and training opportunities planned for 2015–2016 and said national WMU “will focus on equipping for missional living in as many different formats and avenues as possible.”

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How Southern Baptists became pro-life

IN 1979, LARRY LEWIS picked up a copy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and saw a full-page ad listing the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) among denominations that affirmed the right to abortion.
Lewis“Right there beside the Unitarians and universalists was the Southern Baptist Convention,” Lewis, a St. Louis pastor who went on to become president of the Home Mission Board (HMB; now the North American Mission Board), told Baptist Press (BP). “... That bothered me a lot.”
So Lewis did something about it, proposing in 1980 the first of more than 20 pro-life resolutions adopted by the SBC over the next few decades. When Lewis became HMB president of in 1987, one of his first actions was to create the office of abortion alternatives to help churches establish crisis pregnancy centers.

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National WMU welcomes new ministry consultants

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Amy Boone and Lena Plunk have joined join the staff of national WMU today as ministry consultants on WMU’s adult resource team. Jennifer Dodd is the organization's new senior marketing strategist.

DoddJennifer Dodd is the new senior marketing strategist for national WMU. In this role, she will give direction to the development and execution of marketing strategies for WMU missions organizations in the church and related resources. These organizations include Mission Friends for preschoolers; Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, and Children in Action for children; Acteens, Challenges, and Youth on Mission for students; myMISSION for collegiate and young women; and Women on Mission and Adults on Mission.

Dodd served for the past 12 years as marketing and public relations manager for Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham. She earned bachelor’s degrees from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark.

“Jennifer’s past experience touches on every area of marketing,” said Carol Causey, director of WMU’s missions resource center. “She will guide us well as we develop new and better ways to serve and to communicate with our churches.”

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America awaits justices' action on same-sex marriage

WASHINGTON (BP) – The wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to announce it is ready to provide a verdict on same-sex marriage may be near an end.

Then again, it may not.

The justices are scheduled to meet in a private conference Jan. 9, when they will consider appeals of lower-court decisions in favor of states' rights to limit marriage to heterosexual couples. The high court could decide to grant review in one or both cases in this term.

If the Supreme Court rules on the issue this term, gay marriage could be legal throughout the country by the time it adjourns this summer. Or states could maintain their authority historically to define marriage as only between a man and a woman.

The justices' conference will come in the context of a judicial and legislative landscape of swelling support for same-sex marriage and the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Gay marriage is now legal in 36 states -- nearly tripling the 13 states where it was legal just 18 months ago -- and the District of Columbia. Florida became the 36th state with legalized gay marriage Monday (Jan. 5). Cities increasingly are enacting LGBT ordinances, though there has been recent pushback. All the while, the religious liberty of Christians and others with conscientious objections is under threat.

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